BEGINNER
ELEMENTARY
  •  
INTERMEDIATE
  •  
UPPER INTERMEDIATE
  •  
Ders Konuları

The Pathfınder - Chapter 8

The Pathfınder - Chapter 8

 

PARTI
 
Mabel’s stay at the fort at Oswego proved to be shorter than she expected. She had come west at her father’s wish with the intention of remaining with him for some time. Recently, how­ever, Sergeant Dunham had received orders to move to another position.
 
Mabel preferred to go with her father rather than wait behind at the fort even though she had hardly rested from her earlier trip. She had not seen her father for a long time—since her mother’s death many years before. Now that she was with him again, she had no wish to leave him so soon. Her father was pleased to take her with him. The trip was not considered a dangerous one. He too had no wish to be separated from his daughter, after so short a visit.
 
Sergeant Dunham had been ordered to the Thousand Islands. These are a group of islands, more than a thousand in number, lying near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, where Lake Ontario empties into this river. Here, on one of the smaller and more distant of these islands, the English had established a military base from which they made attacks on French boats that carried ammunition and supplies from the French-Canadian fort at Frontenac to the various Indian tribes along the lake. These tribes were friendly at the time to the French and were helping them in their war against the English. The attacks of
 
the English were successful, but it was feared that the French had learned of the position of the island. Sergeant Dunham was therefore being sent to make arrangements for closing up the base
 
Th: party which was to go with him included fewer than twenty men. They were, mainly, soldiers of his regular company. There were also two lesser officers and a certain Lieutenant Muir who, though holding a higher military position than the Sergeant, went as a special officer in charge of the supplies which were to be brought back from 
the base. Sergeant Dunham was in command of the party. He was a man of long experience in such matters, and one of the most trusted officers in his com­pany. Pathfinder and Cap also formed part of this group. Mabel and the wife of one of the soldiers were the only women in the party.
 
The boat in which the party sailed was the Scud. The Scud was a small two-masted ship used by the English on Lake Ontario to carry on the business of the fort. Jasper Western was in command. He and a young boy who helped him formed the whole crew. Jasper had spent all his life on Lake Ontario. He knew the lake from one end to the other. He knew each of its cross-currents, as well as each of the many streams that emptied into it. He had also experienced all the changes of weather, including the sudden storms that sometimes made sail­ing upon the lake so difficult, and even dangerous. And so Jasper was well able to command the Scud. Though still only a young man, he was often trusted with work of an important nature by those in command at the fort. It should be added that Jasper was well liked and admired by all who knew him.
 
At this time, however, an event had taken place which put Jasper in a rather serious position. He had become, so it seemed, the innocent subject of a plan, the purpose of which was to ruin his character among the English at the fort and even among the friends that he prized so highly.
 
Sergeant Dunham, Mabel and Pathfinder in particular, found the facts hard to believe. Yet, just before the boat sailed, a letter had been received by the English officer in command of
 
the fort, stating that Jasper Western had accepted money from the French and was, in fact, now working for them, against the English. The letter was not signed, but it drew attention to the fact that Jasper spoke French perfectly, and that, as a boy, he had lived several years on the Canadian side of the lake. It stated further that Mabel and her uncle had been permitted to escape from the Iroquois simply to increase Jasper’s standing with the English, and that Jasper’s next move would be to lead the Scud into the hands of the French at Frontenac. For the French were naturally more interested in the capture of Sergeant Dunham and his party of soldiers, together with the ruin of the English plans, than in the capture of Mabel or the scalp of her uncle.
 
At first, Jasper was told nothing about this matter. Those in command at the fort felt that circumstances would prove later whether there was any truth in the letter or not. At the same time, they felt that they should not take any chances, since this was a time of war. Orders were therefore given that, as soon as the Scud had left the fort and was well under way, the com­mand should be taken from Jasper and given to Charles Cap.
 
Jasper was simply asked to remain below decks for the rest of the trip. Naturally, he felt this change deeply. He had no idea of the reason for this; and to be so disgraced before Path­finder, his old friend, and Mabel, whom he admired so greatly, was a serious blow to him.
 
Several times during the course of the trip, Cap had to turn to Jasper for help. Once, when a bad storm almost brought an end to the Scud and to all those on board, Jasper alone saved the situation by his quick thinking and greater experience in handling the boat. Yet he gave this help gladly and nobly, in keeping with his true character. He then returned to his cabin, where he remained in silence during the rest of the trip. He appeared again only when it became necessary for him to guide the ship through the last series of narrow passes which led to the small, well-hidden island where the English military base lay. Again, generously, and with his usual skill, Jasper brought the Scud to its position alongside the base. Those on board then prepared at once to go on shore.
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. Why was Mabel’s stay at the fort shorter than she expected?
2. Why did Mabel prefer to go with her father?
3. Where had Sergeant Dunham been ordered to go?
4. What are the Thousand Islands?
5. Why had the British established a base there?
6. Who were the Indians there helping?
7. What was Sergeant Dunham being sent to do?
8. Who was in Sergeant Dunham’s party?
9. How did they go?
10. Why was Jasper well able to command the Scud?
11. What had been done to ruin Jasper’s character with the English?
12. Why was Jasper not told about this matter? What was done instead?
13. How did Jasper show his true character during the trip?
 
B. Use the following words and expressions in sentences of your own:
stay          in command of
military    as a child
base        at first
supply    take a chance
add           under way
capture     on board
 
PART II
 
Station Island, as the men called the place where the English base was located, was a small island, not more than perhaps a few thousand feet long. Lying almost in the center of a group of similar islands, it was not an easy place to find. Boats might pass very near, yet take it to be part of another island. In fact, the passes between all of the islands which formed this par­ticular group were so narrow, that it was difficult to say which parts of the various islands were connected, and which were separated.
 
The island therefore well served the purpose for which it had been chosen. In addition, around its outer edges grew rows of thick bushes which hid completely the cleared center space
 
where the base itself was set up. This base was also small, and included only some six or eight small houses, where the com­manding officer and his men lived. These houses, or rather cabins, were built of logs. There were also two other houses of similar form, one of which was used for the cooking and serving of meals, and the second for the care of the sick.
 
Finally, at the opposite end of the island stood what might best be described as a small fort. This too was made of logs, though in general it was a much larger building than those used by the soldiers for living purposes. It was very strongly built. The logs were very thick and bullet-proof. They were joined in such a way as to leave no weak or open spaces anywhere. The roof was formed of very heavy logs and covered with bark to keep out the rain. There were no windows in the building, only a series of small holes through which to look out or to shoot, if necessary.
 
The general plan was simple, yet the little fort served very well to protect the soldiers in case of attack by the enemy. In its lower part, ammunition and food supplies were kept; the second story was intended for use as living space in time of need. This second story was divided into two or three small rooms and ten to fifteen men could live and sleep here comfortably. The whole building was hidden completely from outside view by tall trees which grew thickly on its three outer sides.
 
The hours which followed the arrival of the Scud were hours of hurried excitement. The soldiers who had been located on the island had seen little action, and wished greatly to get back to Oswego. Sergeant Dunham and the officer whose place he was taking had no sooner made the arrangements for the sergeant to take over the command, than this officer hurried on board the Scud together with his whole party of men.
 
Jasper, who would have liked to spend the day on the island, had to prepare to leave at once. Before separating, however, Lieutenant Muir, Cap and the sergeant had a private conver­sation with this same officer and acquainted him with the fact that Jasper was suspected of working for the French. Promis­ing to keep watch over Jasper at all times, the officer then went on board, and in less than three hours from the time she had arrived, the Scud was under way again.
 
Mabel, meanwhile, had taken possession of one of the small cabins where she and her father were to stay. When the Scud left, she went down to the shore and waved affectionately to Jasper, who stood watching her from the deck. Then Mabel re­turned to the cabin where she quickly made all the little arrange­ments necessary to give the place the appearance of a home. For the first time since she had arrived from the east, she had the satisfaction of having done something useful. She was also glad of the chance to be of some use to her father, for whom she felt, each day, greater love and admiration. At first, after a separation of so many years, she had felt rather shy with her father. He had been almost like a stranger to her. Now they were growing closer together and were able to express more openly the real affection which they felt for each other.
 
A few days later, therefore, when Sergeant Dunham told her that he and his men were about to leave on a final expedition against the French, Mabel was greatly worried to see him go- even though he planned to be gone for only two or three days. The sergeant explained to Mabel that winter was approaching and that the French were about to send out their last ships with rifles, ammunition and other supplies with which to pay off their savage Indian friends. By cutting off these supplies, the English could deal the French plans a serious blow, and also gain valu­able time for themselves, since fresh supplies could not be sent again until the following spring.
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. Why was Station Island difficult to find?
2. Describe the base itself.
3. Where was the fort? Describe the fort.
4. Why was there hurried excitement after the Scud arrived?
5. What did Lieutenant Muir, Cap, and Sergeant Dunham tell the officer who was returning to the fort on the lake?
6. How soon did the Scud leave again?
7. What did Mabel do when the Scud left?
8. How had she felt toward her father at first? How had her feelings changed?
9. Where did Sergeant Dunham tell Mabel that he was going?
10. How long did he expect to be gone?
11. Why was the expedition going at this particular time?
 
B. Use the following words and expressions in sentences of your own:
 
log                        expedition
arrangement      serve the purpose
affection              in case of
useful                  take over
shy                       keep watch over
 
PART III
 
“In case you are surprised, Mabel, at not seeing us when you wake in the morning,” said the sergeant, “I wish to tell you that we intend to set out in the course of this very night. You will not be left here alone. Lieutenant Muir, Brother Cap, Corporal McNab, and three men will remain to hold the island and keep you company. Jenny will stay in the cabin with you.” 
 
“And Mr. Muir? Why will he remain here?” asked Mabel, almost without thinking.
 
“Why, he can make love to you if you like, girl,” said her father with a knowing smile. “For he is an affectionate young man, and having had four wives already, hopes soon to have a fifth.”
 
“I think little of marrying anyone,” answered Mabel. “If I did have such a thing in mind, I am sure that a man whose affec­tions have already been tried by so many wives, would not be the one I would choose. I should certainly not call him a young man either. He is at least fifteen or twenty years older than I.” 
 
“Of course, I was not being serious, Mabel,” answered the father. “I well know that you would never become the wife of Lieutenant  Muir. He will remain here because I am in com­mand of the expedition, and there is no reason for him to go with us. I understand, however, that he admires you, and would not be against considering you as a fifth wife. On the other hand, I hope he has not been bothering you with his attentions.” 
 
“He has spoken to me several times, suggesting that we be­come better friends. I have not hesitated to show him that I am not interested. Imagine! A man who has already had four wives, daring to consider me as his fifth,” said Mabel with considerable feeling.
 
There followed a moment of silence, during which Sergeant Dunham’s manner became serious. He was little given to dealing with personal emotions, but now he was about to leave on a trip from which he knew it was always possible that he might never return. In general, he was so used to the dangers that are part of a soldier’s everyday life, that he seldom gave them a moment’s thought. Now, however, he had .a daughter to think about and to care for.
 
“Now that the subject has come up, Mabel,” he said, “there is something I wish to talk with you about. I have not men­tioned it before, but one of the reasons I asked you to make the trip west was to meet and to come to know Pathfinder. He and I, as you know, have been friends for many years. We have stood side by side and fought through many an Indian war. Once he saved my life. There is no man of better character to be found anywhere. If it is at all possible, I should like to see you become his wife.”
 
“But I think little of marrying anyone at the present time— as I have already said,” answered Mabel. “I would really rather not talk about it, if you don’t mind, Father.”
 
“I know how you feel, Mabel. Yet it is a matter which lies heavy on my mind, and which I should like to see decided as soon as possible. I know that Pathfinder is not very attractive in appearance. His whole life has been spent in the woods, and his only education has been that of a hunter and guide. There are many men dressed in better clothes than he. But there is none with so true a heart and so just a mind.”
 
“But why do I have to marry at all, Father? You are single, and I can remain to take care of you.”
 
“Well, the fact is that I would feel a great deal easier in mind if I knew that you were well taken care of and married to such a man as Pathfinder. I cannot live forever, Mabel, and must drop off in the course of nature before long, if I am not carried off in the course of this war. I wish, in fact, I had seen you comfortably married even before we left Oswego.”
 
“How does Pathfinder feel about this? He is much older than I. He is almost your age, Father,” said Mabel. Though the conversation was anything but pleasant for her, she was suddenly touched by her father’s show of emotion.
 
“Pathfinder is some ten years younger than I, and is still a very young man in spirit. Besides, it does not hurt a man to be a few years older and more experienced than the woman he marries. I was several years older than your mother, and had quite reached forty when I made her my wife.
,
“As to how Pathfinder feels in the matter, I have talked with him several times. At first, he felt that his life as a guide had perhaps not prepared him too well to be the husband of any woman. But I pointed out that it was time he began to think about a house and furniture, and a home. He agreed. He likes you, Mabel. He even loves you. Since coming to know you, he has quite accepted the idea of making you his wife. I have noticed it in his manner, and he has mentioned the fact to me several times.”
 
“Pathfinder has always paid me a great deal of attention,” said Mabel. “I also have no doubts as to his character. He is the kindest, most generous man I have ever known in my life. But that I should become his wife seems quite impossible. I doubt whether I could even make him happy.”
 
Had the sergeant strongly insisted at this point on the promise that he so much desired, he would have met even further resist­ance from the just but strong-minded girl. Yet as their conver­sation continued, Mabel’s thoughts turned more to her father than to Pathfinder. Her father was about to leave on a dangerous expedition from which he might never return. For the moment, he seemed all in all to her, so that she was ready to do anything for him. No sacrifice now seemed too great. Therefore, by not insisting, the sergeant at last succeeded in winning over his warm-hearted and generous daughter to his side.
 
“God loves an obedient daughter, does he not, Father?” Mabel asked finally.
 
“He does, Mabel—and we have the Bible to prove it.”
 
“I will marry whomever you choose.”
 
“You already know whom I nave chosen. No one can make you happier than Pathfinder can.”
 
“Then you can put your mind at rest. Go on your expedition with a light heart, and trust in God. For me you need have no care. In the spring—I must have a little time—I will marry Path­finder if that noble-hearted hunter shall then desire it.”